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Jason Marquis became the first Jewish pitcher in 31 years to collect 100 career victories. Pitching for the Washington Nationals this year, Marquis (pronounced Mar-kee) earned his first big-league win ten years ago by beating the Mets at Shea Stadium while pitching for the Atlanta Braves. Jason, who'll turn 33 on August 2, has also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies.
While we're counting the Omer we'll also be counting Alex Rodriguez's homers. When the Yankees third baseman hits his 17th home run this season, it will be the 600th of his career. A-Rod, who'll be 35 in July, is a good bet to hit 800 career home runs - a number never yet reached by anyone - before he retires.
Seventy-eight degrees and sunny. That's what it was that Thursday afternoon in November when I arrived in Tampa, site of the Yankees Fantasy Camp. After checking into the Sheraton Suites where the campers were staying for the Monday through Saturday camp, I shuttled to George M. Steinbrenner Field (where the Yanks play during spring training and also the home of the Tampa Yankees, three levels below the major leagues), to join the camp in progress.
Forget the results. The 2009 World Series featured the two best teams in baseball. In the old days, the Series always had the best team in the American League against the best team in the National League. But with the advent of two rounds of league playoffs, a good but not great team that has a hot week or two can find itself in the World Series.
When Gaylord Perry made it to the major leagues with the San Francisco Giants in 1962, manager Alvin Dark told him that while he had the makings of being a good pitcher, he would be a terrible hitter. In fact, Dark told Perry that man would walk on the moon before Perry would ever hit a home run.
He put on tefillin every day. He was rarely absent from shul. He ate only kosher. But during the busy season in the garment industry, this Bronx Jew who grew up in the first half of the 20th century worked on Shabbat. Can such a person be considered an Orthodox Jew?
He was the oldest former major league ballplayer when he died last month at the age of 100. Bill Werber was a teammate of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth with the Yankees in 1930 and again three years later. He also played for the Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants before retiring in 1942 with a .271 career batting average. He outhit Hank Greenberg .370 to .357 in the 1940 World Series, leading the Reds over the Tigers in seven games.